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Contributor
awjenning
Posts: 38
Registered: ‎08-06-2011
My Device: PlayBook
My Carrier: T-Mobile
Accepted Solution

Recommendations for Expiring a Try & Buy PlayBook application.

I have a PlayBook app that I want to distribute using Try & Buy. As I understand it, I am responsible for creating the logic that expires the application X days after installation. I need to do this so that the user is not able to continually uninstall and reinstall the app in order to extend the trial period. From my research it looks like phone apps have the ability to store the initial install date in "persistent" storage that will not be deleted on an uninstall. Does the PlayBook have this type of storage? I am familiar with the PlayBooks file structure so I know that I could put a file in the shared files area but this would be easy for the user to find and delete. 

 

Does anyone have any recommendations for a good way to expire a PlayBook application in a manner that prevents uninstall/reinstall in order to prevent circumventing the trail period?

 

Thank you for any suggestions

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Developer
peter9477
Posts: 6,473
Registered: ‎12-08-2010
My Device: PlayBook, Z10
My Carrier: none

Re: Recommendations for Expiring a Try & Buy PlayBook application.

As you say, using shared isn't the best since it can easily be accessed.

You have no good options for doing this on the PlayBook right now. Apps have no access to anything other than shared and their own sandbox folders, which get deleted on uninstall.

You would need to implement something server-side, and probably tie it to the device PIN (which would mean requesting that the user grant the device_identifying_information permission).

Peter Hansen -- (BB10 and dev-related blog posts at http://peterhansen.ca.)
Author of White Noise and Battery Guru for BB10 and for PlayBook | Get more from your battery!
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Developer
jonberry
Posts: 484
Registered: ‎07-17-2008
My Device: Not Specified

Re: Recommendations for Expiring a Try & Buy PlayBook application.

This is one of the reasons I put Playbook development on hold.

 

I don't know which API you're working with but on Android you can't even get the PIN.

 

On top of that, it's pretty easy for someone to hack webworks, android, or air.

 

A server side solution is possible but it's a PITA and if you want the app to run when there is no network it gets complicated.  Plus you gotta handle device switches yourself unless you can tie that in with dynamic licensing.

 

I'm missing the Java smartphone OS already.  :Boat:

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Developer
peter9477
Posts: 6,473
Registered: ‎12-08-2010
My Device: PlayBook, Z10
My Carrier: none

Re: Recommendations for Expiring a Try & Buy PlayBook application.

These things are all true. I'm merely reporting on the facts to give you guidance...

Peter Hansen -- (BB10 and dev-related blog posts at http://peterhansen.ca.)
Author of White Noise and Battery Guru for BB10 and for PlayBook | Get more from your battery!
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Contributor
awjenning
Posts: 38
Registered: ‎08-06-2011
My Device: PlayBook
My Carrier: T-Mobile

Re: Recommendations for Expiring a Try & Buy PlayBook application.

Thank you for your responses. That is what I was afraid of.  I am also very concerned about the stability of Try & Buy. Looking at all the problems reported with it on this forum scares me that users will end up getting the a trial version again if they have already purchased and then I publish an update to the original Try & Buy pair.

 

I posted this related question earlier: I am  wondering if  Free/ Static and then an In-App purchase is a better way to implement the Try & Buy? I think I read that the PlayBook DOES have the API to read the in-app purchase license keys.  

 

 

 

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Developer
peter9477
Posts: 6,473
Registered: ‎12-08-2010
My Device: PlayBook, Z10
My Carrier: none

Re: Recommendations for Expiring a Try & Buy PlayBook application.

[ Edited ]

I don't know what the Android player supports for Payment (possibly nothing), but I believe all three other environments support Payment now. It does let you read information about the in-app purchases although I don't recall the term "license key" being clearly mentioned in the API docs. Easy to find out if you need it.

I'm not sure how that would solve the "problem" with people uninstalling the app and reinstalling it, however. There's still no mechanism you could use there to record state that persists through the uninstall/reinstall sequence.

I would say also though it may well be the better approach "structurally", you may not be happy with some of the side effects resulting from how App World works. Specifically I think your app would be considered "Free" and listed with the Free apps, which may mean you end up much lower in the lists since while you may get lots of installs, you may get few purchases and thus few good reviews.

I can't advise other than to say that based on my understanding you could do a Try/Buy mechanism effectively there aside from the uninstall/reinstall thing.

Personally, I think I'd simply limit my Trial version to have certain core features disabled and therefore ineffective. For a couple of bucks, if the Trial just gives people a general feel for the product, and they're truly potential customers, they'll just say "hmm... looks not bad" and pay the $2 or whatever...

 

(Edited: to add missing word "could" in second last paragraph.)


Peter Hansen -- (BB10 and dev-related blog posts at http://peterhansen.ca.)
Author of White Noise and Battery Guru for BB10 and for PlayBook | Get more from your battery!
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Contributor
awjenning
Posts: 38
Registered: ‎08-06-2011
My Device: PlayBook
My Carrier: T-Mobile

Re: Recommendations for Expiring a Try & Buy PlayBook application.

Thanks for your help Peter! Limiting functionality is perfect way to deal with the uninstall/reinstall.  If I could ask one more thing....

 

I see reported problems with Try and Buy where:

   The user does the buy

   The developer releases a product update (e.g. bug fixes)

   The user allows the update and ends up with the Trial of the update

 

Is this fixed in App World?? It would wreck all good will for an app.

 

I assume that when I upload a product update for bug fixes I upload both "binaries" (.bars) again, 1 for the updated trail, and 1 for the updated full product.

 

Am I correct in this assumption?

 

Thanks!

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Developer
peter9477
Posts: 6,473
Registered: ‎12-08-2010
My Device: PlayBook, Z10
My Carrier: none

Re: Recommendations for Expiring a Try & Buy PlayBook application.

I read those (old?) reports as well, and without clear indications the structural problems had been fixed it did push me away from that approach as well. Other PlayBook devs, however, have apparently had success with it. I suggest sending a PM to jtegen, developer of Magellan Compass, to ask how it's worked for him and whether he's had issues. Preferably he could just respond in this thread for everyone to read.

I believe your assumptions are correct there, but I haven't tried it myself and stopped considering it (a year ago) when I read about those past problems. This is an area where I was waiting for others to blaze a trail. :smileyhappy:

Peter Hansen -- (BB10 and dev-related blog posts at http://peterhansen.ca.)
Author of White Noise and Battery Guru for BB10 and for PlayBook | Get more from your battery!
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Developer
jonberry
Posts: 484
Registered: ‎07-17-2008
My Device: Not Specified

Re: Recommendations for Expiring a Try & Buy PlayBook application.

I don't see why the user couldn't re-register the app again even if they end up with an updated trial.  It's not ideal but it's not a total failure.

 

Limited functionality sounds like a good approach, perhaps the best choice considering the current limitations.

 

Another option would be to have a very short trial period. This would work well if the app requires a lot of configuration or saves a lot of data as the user would get tired of unistalling/reinstalling and then reconfiguring.

 

 

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Developer
peter9477
Posts: 6,473
Registered: ‎12-08-2010
My Device: PlayBook, Z10
My Carrier: none

Re: Recommendations for Expiring a Try & Buy PlayBook application.

Actually I think you'd *want* a user to be able to try the trial, then uninstall and at a later date try an updated trial with new features that may finally entice them to buy.

The "short trial" is also a good idea. Depending on the functionality and purpose of the app, it may be effective to give them full functionality for a brief time (e.g. even half an hour?) and then degrade to a partially rather than completely disabled state. Might give them time to poke around a bit more and feel comfortable with the rest of the app.

If I were using a Trial app which gave me only a brief time then shut itself down entirely, I'd likely feel forced to decide whether to buy immediately or uninstall, and I suspect I'd be more inclined to uninstall right at that moment than to say "I'll think about it and maybe buy later."

Peter Hansen -- (BB10 and dev-related blog posts at http://peterhansen.ca.)
Author of White Noise and Battery Guru for BB10 and for PlayBook | Get more from your battery!
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